Northern Ireland

Prisoner MacFerran mistakenly released six weeks early

Laganside courthouse

Justice Minister David Ford has instructed the Prison Service to investigate how a prisoner was released by mistake from Maghaberry.

George Damien MacFerran, 47, was released from custody on Friday, despite having six weeks left to serve on his sentence.

MacFerran was convicted of assault with an offensive weapon.

He was rearrested on Monday afternoon and was returned to custody in Maghaberry prison.

The Prison Service became aware of the error on Monday and informed the minister.

Mr Ford said he was appalled that a prisoner had again been released in error from the same prison.

"I have had an initial briefing on this incident and have directed that a thorough investigation be launched immediately," he said.

"I want to know exactly how this has happened and how it took two days for the error to come to light.

"If it turns out that individuals are to blame the Director General has assured me that appropriate action will be taken."

In Autumn 2010 three prisoners were released in error from prison within two months.

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